With the development of new technology in the medical field comes the need for new designs for devices and machinery. Pieces must fit together precisely to work properly and may need custom silicone keypads to make them work. Perhaps the machine requires silicone rubber seals and tubing to contain gases and liquids. When building new technology, it is often necessary to create prototypes for the interworking pieces such as medical silicone molding to see how they fit together with the rest of the device. Sometimes what the designer envisions changes when the true-to-size pieces are put together. Perhaps the colors are wrong or the placement seems confusing and inefficient to those critiquing the product. When creating new machinery with medical keypad molding made from liquid silicone, further study and testing may reveal the need for different key functions. This is where medical silicone prototypes become very important to the success of a new product.
Using a Rapid Prototype
When designing new machines and devices that contain medical silicone molding, it is helpful to have a prototype available before the design is finalized. Medical silicone prototypes can be developed from a design on paper into a tangible 3-dimensional component. The result is a model that is 95 percent in quality and detail as compared to what the final product will look like. Using medical silicone prototypes of components and keypads in new designs are helpful in visualizing what works and what doesn’t before the actual process of manufacturing the whole device begins.
Reducing Lead Times
At SiTECH, we create medical silicone prototypes for new product designs with an approximate turnaround time of two to three weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the design. This allows the product designer a faster option than having the actual component manufactured before the design is finalized.
Once the rapid prototype has been created, the product designer can do an analysis of form, fit and function. After a critical evaluation of the item, changes can be made to the design specifications in medical silicone molding size, color, labeling and other important features if necessary. This can prevent the need for expensive tooling changes at a later time if the features need to be adjusted before the manufacturing stage is reached.
When a new medical device or product is developed, the amount of time it takes to take the design from paper to reality is usually quite lengthy. The longer it takes a product to be developed, the greater the risk of competitors completing similar products first and the greater the likelihood of the project falling behind schedule. By using medical silicone prototypes in the creation of keypads and components for new medical devices, designers can have a useful 3-dimensional tool available for presentations and evaluations in a fraction of the time.